- any of various prickly climbing plants of the tropical American genus Smilax having large aromatic roots and heart-shaped leaves: family Smilacaceae
- the dried roots of any of these plants, formerly used as a medicine
- a nonalcoholic drink prepared from these roots
WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2016
- Plant Biology[countable] a vine that grows in warm regions, having heart-shaped leaves.
- Plant Biology[uncountable] the root of this vine, used as a flavoring.
- Fooda soft drink, such as root beer, flavored with this: [uncountable]sold sarsaparilla in those old drugstores.[countable]Two sarsaparillas, please.
- Plant Biologyany of various climbing or trailing tropical American plants belonging to the genus Smilax, of the lily family, having alternate leaves, umbels of flowers, and a root that has been used in the treatment of psoriasis.
- Plant Biologythe root.
- an extract or other preparation made of this root.
- Fooda soft drink flavored with an extract of this root, as root beer.
- Spanish zarzaparrilla, equivalent. to zarza bush + parrilla (parr(a) vine + -illa diminutive suffix)